3 Frequently Asked Questions When Considering an Office Move

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August 8, 2016

office move

Whatever your reasons for considering an office move, the process can be daunting and filled with uncertainty.

How far in advance should we be thinking about an office move?

Who should be involved in the process?

How do we determine what we need?

Amid all these unknowns, one thing is certain: you need to plan for the future even if you can’t predict it. Here are answers to three frequently asked questions when considering a move.

How far in advance should we be thinking about an office move?

Earlier than you probably think. Even if you’re not moving and just renegotiating your lease, it is critical you give yourself enough time to make decisions and thoroughly negotiate the terms you need. Timelines vary per project, but begin planning no less than six to nine months before your lease expires. Start with the big picture. Your move is about more than picking a new building. Real estate decisions impact every facet of your business: productivity, revenue, well-being, sustainability and future success. Allow enough time to fully assess your company’s needs. Only once you figure out who you are as a business can you design a workplace to support it.

Which internal stakeholders should be included in this process?

Build consensus among the executive team and senior leadership to ensure an efficient process. Making sure you have the right team on board from the beginning is critical. Not building internal consensus throughout the process is a common pitfall in making real estate decisions. Many companies get ready to execute on a new lease only to have the deal go sour because they lack board approval or executive consent. Avoid a late-stage veto by keeping the entire team informed each step of the way. If you approach your move on a unified front, employees will be confident in the final decision as well.

With regards to broader employee opinion, a survey in the planning phase can be a good way to inform leadership of employee preferences. Although talent considerations are one of the most important criteria in developing a real estate strategy, decisions should ultimately be made by a core real estate team. This team can form a strategy that takes employee opinions into account while also ensuring core business objectives are met.

What if I can’t determine my headcount but we need to make a decision?

Small companies or startups may not have this issue, at least at first, but with growth it can become incredibly difficult to determine your company’s headcount. The size of your company will determine both the time the move will take and the type of lease terms you’re likely to get. A headcount growth and space analysis should be completed in the planning phase of the process. Consider how many executives you have, as well as other staff levels, such as sales professionals or engineers. Make projections for future headcount by each staff level. Growth metrics can help you make an educated guess. While growth metrics can vary from industry to industry, looking at trends from similar companies can help establish a baseline for your business.

Navigating real estate decisions can be challenging. For this reason, JLL has launched TechSpec, a one-stop site for companies, especially tech firms, in pursuit of the best workplace. TechSpec features content and resources ranging from tenant guides and case studies to leading industry research and expert input to help you find the design and space that’s best for you. For answers to more frequently asked questions and common pitfalls to avoid, visit TechSpec today.

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